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Western Michigan football spring game 2016: Replacing Daniel Braverman

No more Daniel Braverman in Kalamazoo. Can WMU still be effective on offense in 2016?

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Wooden Oar Spring Game was played at Waldo Stadium on Saturday, starting the official countdown to a football season in West Michigan loaded with expectations for a MAC title.

With an entire summer and fall camp to go, gleaning much from spring game statistics proves difficult, but we'll take a look at a few snapshots below. The first look provided to the 2,950 fans in attendance Saturday is valluable insight into what the roster might look like at the outset of fall.

Wide Receivers

Player Rec Yards TD Long
M. Henry 4 63 0 25
T. Sweeny 3 68 0 39
C. Thompson 3 85 0 53
K. Watson 1 52 0 52
J. Kepouros 1 14 0 14
L. Ekwoge 1 6 1 6
A. Curtis 1 14 0 14

For the Broncos, no question looms larger than just how they plan to fill the hole left behind by Daniel Braverman, who is available in this spring's NFL Draft. Braverman's 108 receptions and over 1300 yards mean there's ample production to go around. It's not likely all this available work goes to just one person. While the year should belong to senior Corey Davis, standing alongside him are Michael Henry and Carrington Thompson, more than ready to step into the void.

Thompson began his day with a bang, hauling in a 53 yard pass on the Gold team's first play from scrimmage. Thompson is regarded as one of the top performers in spring practice and could help turn the Bronco aerial attack into a dual threat over the top along with Davis. Henry was the third leading receiver on last year's team, hauling in 18 passes including a deep touchdown pass at Eastern Michigan.

Running Backs

Player Att Yards TD Long Avg
J. Bogan 4 30 0 18 7.5
D. Tucker 11 17 0 3 1.54
J. Franklin 2 9 1 8 4.5
L. Ekwoge 4 27 0 22 6.75

Mike Hart may have left for Dino Babers' staff at Syracuse, but he left Kenni Burns a pretty good stable of backs to work with. The longtime wide receivers coach at Wyoming and North Dakota State is looking at a talented group led by Jamauri Bogan who appeared to pick up right where he left off, rushing for 7.5 yards per carry on Saturday.

The lion's share of carries went to Davon Tucker who had 9 for 16 yards. The five foot eight, 205 pound sophomore from Somerdale, New Jersey was a three star recruit coming out of high school, where he was named the state's Offensive Back of the Year in 2014. Perhaps Tucker will be the surprise offensive player of the season much like Bogan the year before.


Player Comp Att INT Yards TD Long
M. Little 3 8 0 43 0 24
T. Flacco 4 9 0 74 1 39
Z. Terrell 3 6 1 87 0 53
J. Wassink 4 7 0 98 1 52

Zach Terrell is an accurate enough passer that a spring game is not very telling of the year ahead. For what it's worth, he did throw the game's only interception. It was the backup quarterback Tom Flacco who was the most active of the passers, attempting nine passes for 74 yards. He also added 62 yards on the ground to continue his production from the season before. Flacco is a quality change up for the Bronco offense and can be a nightmare for opposing defenses.

Jon Wassink and newcomer Matt Little saw snaps on Saturday as well, combining for nearly half of the offense's passing yards on the day, including a touchdown for Wassink, the red shirt freshman from Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Player Solo Ast Total Sacks TFL INT
M. Rucker 4 0 4 0 0 1
D. Jackson 4 0 4 0 0 0
A. Turner 3 0 3 1 1 0
K. Adams 2 0 2 2 1 0
D. Ginwright 2 0 2 0 0 0

Keion Adams was able to get into the backfield twice for sacks on Saturday, which were his only two tackles for the afternoon. Teammates Malik Rucker and Davontae Ginwright each had takeaways as well. However, Ginwright's was called back due to holding on the play. A mortal sin for a defense in the regular season, but since it's a spring game I'm sure all may be forgiven.

Looking Forward

To be clear, there is not a player on this or any other roster that at all resembles Braverman's shifty style of possession receiving. Michael Henry and Carrington Thompson are not going to make eight defenders miss while traveling East-West on the field. However, this year's version of the Broncos should be much stronger over the top, and that there are two receivers performing well already during spring should be encouraging for Bronco fans going forward.

The slightly colder question on offense is what to make of Jarvion Franklin's performance going forward. Franklin followed up his stellar freshman season with a good, but less productive 2015. Much of this was due to the emergence of Jamauri Bogan as the number one option out of the backfield. Will Franklin become the effective red zone option he once was, or will he be forced to give away even more carries to quicker backs like LeVante Bellamy?

Defensively the questions will be asked of the line backers. The unit was not very deep a year ago, but has gotten younger and by extension less experienced. With the departure of Grant DePalma, who will lead the way in the middle for WMU? It was the weakest of the units on defense in 2015, and will have to be much better for the Broncos to win a MAC championship in 2016.